• Review: "Beyond the quality of the artwork, which remains amazingly detailed and perfectly perfect in its storytelling,Dungeon Quest is really funny, the humor sometimes seeming dissonant — but pleasingly so — given the seriousness with which Daly approaches, say, drawing a rock-strewn valley or depicting a slow, tiring march through a forest (It’s almost Tolkeinesque in his commitment to describing walking!) or choreographing a thrilling action scene." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Robot 6
• Review (Audio): The guys at Washington, D.C.'s Big Planet Comics discuss Angelman by Nicolas Mahler on this week's episode of their podcast, declaring "if you're sensitive about your love of superhero comics, this is probably not for you, but if you want awesomely cool cartooning art by Mahler and something really different, here you go. It's funny too."
Olivier Schrauwen is self-publishing a 3-volume comic about his grandfather, Arsène Schrauwen, and the first volume is available now through Olivier's blog. Get yours so you can be super cool and brag that you got the super-rare limited-edition version when the collected edition eventually comes out! And also because Olivier is great.
Comedy Bang! Bang! premieres on the IFC cable network tonight (check your local listings) with an animated title sequence and incidental artwork by the great Paul Hornschemeier (with an inking assist from our own Eric Reynolds, among others) and Paul is sharing a bunch of behind-the-scenes production art and sketches at his blog here and here. My DVR is set!
• Awards: Congratulations to the great Joost Swarte, awarded the 2012 Marten Toonder Prize and its concomitant fat cash prize by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, as reported by Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter
• Review (Audio):Inkstuds host Robin McConnell is joined by Paul Gravett, Joe McCulloch and Tom Spurgeon for a roundtable discussion of Cruisin' with the Hound by Spain Rodriguez and other books
• Review: "Here are the early ejaculations from the primordial form of what was to become one of the great American writers. Here is Flannery O'Connor as she is formulating her unique vision of America and all that it entails.... What value does Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons have inherently? I think the answer to that question is entirely subjective. ...I personally wish to thank Fantagraphics for going out on a limb and publishing this book, if for no other reason than to put Flannery O'Connor back into the pop culture discussion for however briefly it may be." – Daniel Elkin, Comics Bulletin
• Review: "Anyone can be grotesque and horrifying. To truly get under the skin of the audience is an ability not many have. Someone who does is Thomas Ott, and he uses his ability to the highest effect in Cinema Panopticum. ...[I]f you are looking for an unsettling horror story rendered beautifully by an expert craftsman there is no doubt this should be in your collection." – Taylor Pithers, The Weekly Crisis
• Interview (Audio): Spend 3 minutes with Michael Kupperman as Tom Gambino of Pronto Comics talks to Michael from the floor of last April's MoCCA Fest on the ProntoCast podcast
• Film Studies: At Boing Boing, Jim Woodring writes about the 1931 Fleischer Bros. short that expanded his young mind: "I might have come to grips with the overwhelming mystery of life in a rational, organic manner if it weren't for a cartoon I saw on my family's old black and white TV in the mid '50s when I was three or four years old. This cartoon rang a bell so loud that I can still feel its reverberations.... Whatever [the creators'] motivation and intent, 'Bimbo's Initiation' became my prime symbolic interpreter, the foundation of my life's path and endlessly exploding bomb at the core of my creative output."
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
For a change of pace let's kick things off with...
"CONFLICT OF INTEREST RESERVOIR: Nicolas Mahler parodies the superhero comics industry in his characteristic style with Angelman, a 96-page color hardcover; $18.99. A new softcover edition of Fredrik Strömberg’s Black Images in the Comics (I’ve read and enjoyed the 2003 edition) offers valuable insights on a large collection of depictions; $19.99. And editor John Benson presents Squa Tront #13, an all-new 48-page fanzine on things EC and related; $9.99." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
96-page full-color 7" x 9.75" hardcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-534-1
"A really weird, somewhat adorable little book by the Austrian artist Nicolas Mahler that I am happy to suspect is as close as Fantagraphics is ever going to come to publishing superhero comics. It's a minimalist reaction against, and parody of, mainstream comics' conventions of character, storytelling, drawing, design, financial structure, interaction with their readers... it's attractively executed for sure, and pretty funny..." – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"Lotsa good, splurge-worthy stuff this week, including... Angelman, a rather cutting (if you look at the cover you’ll see I’m making a pun here) superhero parody from Austrian cartoonist Nicolas Mahler..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"For my splurge item, I’m going to take Mautner’s recommendation and grab Nicolas Mahler’s Angelman. I can use some cutting superhero parody this week." – Michael May, Robot 6
"A funny and biting take on superhero comics — or as I often like to spell them, 'sooperhero comics.' Angelman has powers like empathy and enemies like Gender-Bender (a plastic surgeon). A minimal yet endearing art style — and a biting look at superhero comics, fans and the business behind them." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"I did not expect to see a nice-looking Fantagraphics hardcover featuring Nicolas Mahler's work, so this was a pleasant surprise." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
304-page black & white 6" x 6" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-562-4
"...I’m definitely curious enough about Fredrik Stromberg’s Black Images in the Comics (Fantagraphics, $19.99) to pick it up; comics’ early racism is often ignored, so I’m looking forward to learning more, and then getting depressed about it." – Graeme McMillan, Robot 6
"A fascinating survey of... comics from the past 100 years from all over the world all featuring black characters. Each entry includes an accompanying essay. Overall, a compelling look at the changing role of race in comics and therefore culture. – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
48-page black & white/color 8.5" x 11" softcover • $9.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-571-6
"...Fantagraphics has the latest issue of Squa Tront, the longest-running EC-focused crit/fan mag evar. At $10, that’s certainly at least worth a flip-through." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"I've read this and it was as surprise for me. I generally adore Squa Tront, and magazines that use a specific focus to build a perspective on comics more generally. I thought this a strong issue just for the presentation of Jack Davis war-era cartooning. This is the kind of thing I want to do with my own relationship to comics when I grow up." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
272-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $14.95 ISBN: 978-1-56097-851-0
"So you hear people talking all the time about Jaime Hernandez and how he's one of the most amazing cartoonists working in the English language and all that, and there are so many Love and Rockets collections in so many formats, and where do you start? If you're one of the people who prefers to start at the beginning, there is a new printing of this stout little paperback [Maggie the Mechanic] out this week, which collects his earliest, sci-fi/punk-type 'Locas' and 'Mechanics' stories, as well as a new printing of the second volume, The Girl From H.O.P.P.E.R.S., in which he hits the groove in which he's stayed most of the time since then. I never get tired of re-reading these." – Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
"I will... buy everything Jaime Hernandez does just short of new printings. I'd sure check my damn bookshelves to make sure I had one, though. This early material reads quite well in those paperbacks, I think." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
In 2011’s Dungeon Quest Book Two, we left our heroes, Millennium Boy, Steve, Lash and Nerdgirl, in the Temple of Bromedes as they began their initiation into the mysteries of Atlantis under the tutelage of the androgynous forest mystic, Bromedes. In this third book, our heroes complete their learning with Bromedes and are guided towards further quests in Rufford Park and beyond, to the Zuur Plateau. However, they are not yet clear of the hazards of Fireburg Forest. Resurfacing to the forest floor (after hitting the strongest weed in the universe, “Orangutan Daydream”), they must survive a perilous cliff path, discover moon shrines, battle wild Womraxes, endure knock-out gas, hypnagogic visions, nakedness and deprivation and, finally, embark on a desperate and courageous mission to rescue Nerdgirl from cruel Forest Bandits and retrieve their stolen equipment.
In this third book, by far the longest installment of the series so far (288 pages!), the reader is also introduced to the history and mysticism of The Romish Book of the Dead, a sexually avant-garde “little forest man” (who becomes the fifth member of the crew), Steve’s newly discovered “battle warping” abilities (which Millennium Boy dismisses as being a mere “kundalini spasm”), weapons and armor upgrades and a whole new level of bizarre comedy, rousing adventure and ass-kicking action — all staged in front of fantastic backdrops replete with strange vegetation, ancient ruins and steampunk imagery.
• Review: "The sad, forgotten beauty of the in-between moments of daily life: playing a board game at a kitchen table just cleared from a family dinner; listening to music having just slipped off your shoes; daydreaming while doing the dishes. What would it be like if a series of graphic novellas tried to capture these moments? What if it also featured an omnipresent, invisible rabbit that could change sizes and a dark, cloud-shaped creature ('the Big Blind') living in the basement of an apartment building that fed on the memories, dreams, and nightmares of its inhabitants? It would probably be something like the Italian comic-book creator Gabriella Giandelli’s... Interiorae." – Nicholas Rombes, Oxford American
• Preview: At The Beat, Jessica Lee presents a 5 page sneak peek of the new book by Josh Simmons, saying "Toying with the vulnerability of characters that seem timelessly recognizable, i.e. fairies in a fantastical land or a batman-esque figure scaling a wall, The Furry Trap is a graphic novel that is set to shock and appall its reader, yet Simmons is able to retain an even stronger range of visual style that makes this graphic novel’s scope extend further than being just a horrific tale."
• Plug: "...[T]he new volume of Prince Valiant, volume 5, is here and an event all its own. Fantagraphics' new hardcover printings of these wonderful Hal Foster Sunday pages offers the finest reproduction yet, far superior to their old softcover series. While I own the original Sunday pages, collected years ago, I could not resist sitting down with these new volumes and getting re-hooked on the stories AND art by one of the very true masters of comic art." – Bud Plant
• Plug: "Out of the Shadows deserves your attention. Meskin is one of my favorite artists from the 1940s and 1950s.... Mort's work here are some of the hidden gems of the Golden Age.... This book comes a long way to reveal this incredible talent who rose above the mass of Golden Age artists." – Bud Plant
1-2-3-4, Johnny Ryan declares a penis war! Johnny's frenemy-bromance with French cartoonist Frédéric Fleury has blossomed into a book, War + Penis: The Great Online Comics Insult War, out now from Italy's The Milan Review. Johnny and Fred spent months dumping on each other's Facebook walls with dozens and dozens of disgusting and hilarious insult cartoons, and now here they are collected between two alternate covers, a "France wins" version and an "America wins" version. You can order the latter direct from Johnny. Get a room you guys!
One of the greatest visual storytellers in the history of comics. That was Mort Meskin, famed Golden Age artist whose name belongs in the first rank of comics storytellers: Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko.
See for yourself why Meskin earned the admiration and respect of his peers (as well as contemporary critics and historians) for his atmospherically charged work, his masterful use of form and composition to convey mood and action, his noirish use of light and shadow to create suspense.
This, the first-ever collection of Meskin’s comics, surveys his work from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Here, in just under 200 pages, you’ll discover the artist’s amazing ability to stamp his own fresh visual imprimatur across a wide variety of genres: superheroes (The Black Terror, The Fighting Yank, a never-before published Golden Lad), adventure (the origin of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle), science fiction (Tom Corbett, Space Cadet) — plus horror, kid gangs, crime, Western — even romance!
Rescued from the fading obscurity of old, yellowing comic books, this deluxe volume meticulously reproduces his work from the best available sources. At last, Mort Meskin steps into the spotlight and — OUT OF THE SHADOWS!
Praise for Mort Meskin:
“Deserves to be treasured by all comics fans and studied by all artists of the medium” – Rich Clabaugh, Christian Science Monitor
• Preview/Interview: At Print Magazine, Michael Dooley presents a bunch of pages of The Sincerest Form of Parody: The Best 1950s Mad-Inspired Satirical Comics and has a quick Q&A with editor John Benson: "When Isaac Asimov edited his massive Before the Golden Age anthology of 1930s science fiction... he relied entirely on his memories of reading the stories when they first appeared, and that's how he made his selections. Similarly, Jules Feiffer largely relied on his memories of the stories from his original reading when making selections for his seminal The Great Comic Book Heroes in 1965. Like the Asimov and Feiffer books, The Sincerest Form of Parody is partly an exercise in nostalgia, so in making my selections, I think it's fair to give some consideration to my reaction to the material when I first saw it."
• Review: "...Fantagraphics recently unlocked whatever crate must have been used to house Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin: The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle. Over a foot long and over a foot-and-a-half tall, the hardcover features the most beautiful endpapers in recent memory. Gruelle’s artwork is full of whimsy, presented in both the richest nostalgic color and black and white. The narrative involves two children on a journey through a magical land as guided by a wood sprite, but this is truthfully an art book. It’s meant to be read sprawled out on the floor, the only surface in an average reader’s home that is likely large enough to properly balance this fine luxury. Rick Marschall provides a lengthy, informative essay that is lavishly accompanied by further illustrations." – Alex Carr, Omnivoracious
• Review: "In an age of indie-comics dependent upon the banality of the everyday, a hesitant realism, Rickheit eschews reality in favor of the impossible, a state of existence that is truly fantastical. But this is not a utopia, this is a world entirely of the body, though not only the body of human beings, but the body of all living meat, of anything that breathes and shits. This is a world of pure imagination, of subconscious desires let loose with an acutely detailed drawing style. And ultimately, [Folly]’s a perfect work for those who refuse to float away from their bodies but are ready to let their heads go where-ever one can find the new." – Invisible Mike, HTMLGIANT
• Tweet of the Day: "I just read The Furry Trap by Josh Simmons; I'll be on the Internet the rest of the day looking for instructions on how to boil my eyes." – Tom Spurgeon (@comicsreporter)
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